We’re now in the midst of peak hurricane season, and you know what that means: It’s time to prepare and secure property, restock nonperishable food items and water, check emergency supply kits, and review the emergency evacuation plan with your family. If you have lived in Florida for a while, this process has probably become routine.
But there is another aspect of hurricane preparedness that is very important and sometimes overlooked: taking measures to protect your money. Like we witnessed with Hurricane Katrina’s impact on the Gulf Coast, there can be devastating, long-lasting effects from a severe hurricane, so it is critical to make sure your finances are in order before disaster strikes. The following are a few simple ways you can avoid financial catastrophe in the event of a big storm:
Keep important financial information and identification safe and accessible.
Important documents that you will not need immediately following an event should be placed in a waterproof bag or container and stored in a safe place.
Create an emergency fund.
Make sure it is sufficient to sustain you and your family if you are required to evacuate. It should be easily accessible from a savings or checking account.
Keep plenty of cash on hand, especially small bills.
Extended power outages could prevent you from accessing ATMs, using your credit/debit card at retailers, or using a check for payment if merchants are unable to perform proper verifications.
Do not wait until the last minute to withdraw cash from your account.
Just like waiting lines are long at grocery stores in the days leading up to an impending hurricane, the same goes for financial institutions. Beat the rush and get your money early.
Sign up for e-Services like Direct Deposit, Bill Pay, and Internet & Mobile Banking.
If you have to evacuate, do not waste precious time depositing checks by hand or making payments via mail. Postal delivery could be delayed by the storm, putting you at risk of incurring late fees. Automated payments can help you focus your energy on making other important preparations for the storm. And if you have checks to deposit, you can always use the VyStar Mobile Banking App to get the job done.
Review your insurance policies before hurricane season starts.
Call your agent(s) to make sure you have enough coverage for your property, vehicle(s) and yourself in the event of a hurricane. Some policies require at least 30 days to take effect. In Florida, tropical weather and hurricanes are a part of everyday life. Being physically and financially prepared well in advance will help ease the worry of potential impact.
The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. VyStar Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided.